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Preventing suicide through community and connection

According to a sobering figure from Interior Health, approximately 11 Canadians end their lives by suicide every day.

Annually, across Canada, more than 3,500 people are lost to suicide. In B.C., that number averages 501.

With World Suicide Prevention Day approaching on Sept. 10, organizers have made 'Connecting Canada' the theme for the campaign. The effects of suicide can be devastating to communities and families and prevention is a shared responsibility, as we all have the potential to make a difference and save a life.

"Everyone can benefit from the help and support of their family, friends and community during difficult times," said Jenny Green, Community Health Facilitator for Interior Health. "Many suicides are preventable. Suicide prevention begins with our willingness to recognize the signs of suicide and talk openly about it. Once you have a feeling that someone might be thinking about suicide, it is important to ask them directly, clearly and as soon as possible."

On Sept. 10, there will be an event at Rotary Park to mark world suicide awareness from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. that will feature live music, guest speakers, a kite memorial and more.

The theme of 'Connecting Canada' encourages individuals to be connected with themselves, others, and the community, which is critical to well-being and hopefulness.

Meaningful connections can be very powerful, Green added.

"Sometimes just a few genuine words of concern and active listening can create an open discussion about suicide and encourage an at-risk person to seek help," Green said. "You can make a big difference."

If someone you know is feeling suicidal, help is available. The Interior Crisis Line Network provides residents with around-the-clock access to telephone support. The toll-free number is 1-888-353-CARE (2273).

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